The Mariners were the honorary starters of one of the region’s top running events on Sunday.
After winning four trophies last season, the club was invited by the organisers of the Simplyhealth Great North 10k to set more than 5,000 participants on their way in Gateshead.
Three SSFC players, though, went the extra mile – or 6.2miles, to be exact.
Team-mates Carl Finnigan, Craig Baxter and Stephen Ramsey, as well as joint manager Lee Picton, had been the honorary starters of the race, and were also in the stadium to see the trio of Mariners cross the finish line.
Picton said: “It was a huge honour to be invited to be the starters of this year’s event.
“This has been an incredible year for the club, on and off the pitch, and of course last season was topped off with our win at Wembley in the FA Vase final.
“That was one of four trophies we won last season and we have received some humbling recognition since then, with this being one of those moments.
“We loved being part of it and setting the runners on their way, including Julio, Dillon and Luke, who all did excellently.”
A minute’s applause was held before the run in memory of inspirational six-year-old Bradley Lowery, who died after a battle with neuroblastoma on Friday.
A record number of entrants took on the route along the Newcastle-Gateshead quayside, passing Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Two-hundred Gurkha recruits from Catterick Garrison gathered on the start line in their own separate wave and took on the event as part of their armed forces training. The Shields trio followed them over the start line.
A Sunderland XI is to visit Mariners Park in August as long-serving South Shields striker Stephen Ramsey is honoured with a testimonial.
The pre-season friendly between the Mariners and Sunderland will take place on Wednesday, August 2, with kick-off at 7.30pm.
The match doubles up as a testimonial for Ramsey, who has spent 10 years with Shields so far, making 311 appearances and scoring 84 times.
More details about the game will be released in due course, but it is expected to be the Mariners’ penultimate pre-season fixture.
Home friendlies with Gateshead (Saturday, July 15) and FC United of Manchester (Saturday, July 22) have already been announced, with a trip to Whitby Town to conclude the pre-season programme on Saturday, August 5.
More fixtures will be announced soon.
Ahead of Saturday’s game against Ashington, a special presentation was made at Mariners Park to South Shields striker Stephen Ramsey.
Ramsey, who is into his 10th season with the club, reached the mark of 300 appearances for the Mariners in last month’s FA Vase tie at Esh Winning.